Centipedes

OVERVIEW

Centipedes (from the New Latin prefix centi-, “hundred”, and the Latin word pes, pedis, “foot”) are predatory arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda, an arthropod group which also includes millipedes and other multi-legged creatures. Centipedes are elongated metameric creatures with one pair of legs per body segment. Most centipedes are generally venomous and could inflict a painful bite, injecting their venom through pincer-like appendage known as forcipules. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs, ranging from 30 to 354. Centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs. Therefore, no centipede has exactly 100 legs. Similar to spiders and scorpions, centipedes are predominantly carnivorous.

Biology & Behavior

In general, the body of a centipede is usually yellowish to dark brown in color, sometimes with darker stripes or markings. The heads of centipedes have a pair of long and sensitive antennae covered with dense hairs. They have small mouths and have large, claw-like structures that contain a venom gland. In fact, some centipedes have compound eyes containing as many as 200 optical units, while others have a cluster of simple eyes on each side of the hear or no eyes.

Signs

There are many things that could signify you have centipedes in your house. One thing is the presence of pests in your house. If you see pests, be ready to take action because centipedes feed on them. Pests on the other hand feed on the sweet food in your house. You need to find out first which type of food in the house that brings pests and avoids it. Pests produce certain identifiable smells.

Damage

Smaller variants of centipedes produce nothing more than a painful, localized reaction, not unlike a bee sting. Larger species, however, administer more venom through a bite and can produce more extreme pain. While centipede bites can be extremely painful, they are not generally fatal to humans.

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